How to Cold Smoke Salmon – The Ultimate Guide

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If you’re a fan of smoked salmon, you might be interested in learning how to cold smoke salmon yourself. Cold smoking involves smoking salmon at a relatively low temperature, typically between 68°F and 86°F, for a longer period of time, usually around 12-24 hours. This process results in a delicate and deliciously smoky flavor that’s perfect for appetizers, bagels, and salads. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cold smoke your salmon.

Preparing the Salmon

Before you start the cold smoking process, you need to prepare your salmon properly. First, make sure you have fresh, high-quality salmon fillets. Then, rinse the salmon under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Next, sprinkle the salmon with some kosher salt to cure the fish. Make sure to cover both sides of the fillet and leave it in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.

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Choosing the Right Wood Chips

When it comes to cold smoking, the type of wood chips you choose plays an essential role in the final flavor of your salmon. Different woods have different flavors. Some of the most popular wood chips for cold smoking salmon include hickory, apple, alder, and oak.

Setting Up Your Smoker

Properly setting up your smoker is also crucial for cold smoking salmon. First, make sure your smoker is clean and has no leftover ash. Then, place a foil tray in the bottom of your smoker to catch any drippings. Add some of your wood chips into the smoker’s wood chip box and set the temperature to around 75°F.

How Long to Smoke Your Salmon

The duration of your cold smoking process depends on several factors, such as the thickness of your salmon fillets and your personal preference. Generally, you should cold smoke your salmon for around 12-24 hours. Make sure to keep an eye on the temperature and replenish the wood chips as needed.


Is cold smoked salmon safe to eat?

Yes, cold smoked salmon is safe to eat, as the curing and smoking process helps to preserve the fish’s quality. However, make sure to buy fresh salmon and properly cure and smoke it to avoid any risk of foodborne illnesses.

How should I store my cold smoked salmon?

You can store your cold smoked salmon in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent any air from getting in.

Can I reuse my wood chips for cold smoking salmon?

No, it’s not recommended to reuse your wood chips for cold smoking salmon, as they lose their smoky flavor after the first use. Instead, replace the wood chips every time you smoke.


Now that you know how to cold smoke salmon, you can impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. Remember to use fresh, high-quality salmon, choose the right wood chips, and properly set up your smoker. Happy smoking!


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